Facebook losing younger users to other networks

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Facebook Inc. for the first time on Wednesday acknowledged it may have a challenge in holding the attention of young people.

Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman said during the company’s third-quarter earnings call that Facebook had seen a decrease in daily usage among younger teens.

“We did see a decrease in daily users, specifically among younger teens,” Ebersman said, sending down the stock from the rise it saw after earnings were announced. “We wanted to share this with you now because we get a lot of questions about teens.”

He also said that usage among U.S. teens overall was “stable” during the second and third quarters.

Facebook has consistently said over the years that usage among teens is increasing. In July, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said, “There’s been a lot of speculation and reporting that fewer teens are using Facebook, but based on our data that just isn’t true.”

Research shows teens’ growing interest in other social apps like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat – a service popular with teens that Facebook tried to buy. According to Snapchat, in September alone, that 350 million “snaps” (photos and videos) are sent each day.

A recent Pew study found more than half of teens have avoided certain apps because they’re worried about privacy. Twenty-six percent of teens have uninstalled an app after learning it was collecting their personal information, according to the study.

This is a “very grown-up challenge for Facebook, which needs kids to continue to dominate social networking.”

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